Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 11 August 2010
Union Atlantic is a rare treat; gorgeously written, with a deft line in characters, a novel that through sheer skill alone builds in such potency as to affect the reader's moments and experiences away from its sparkling prose. With a plot that is secondary, but nevertheless expertly threaded through events, Haslett's brilliance - in this his first proper novel - sparkles via his jewel-like observations and poetic takes on eternal truths, somehow fashioning them as brand new and marking himself out as a truly talented author to follow.
As you've probably already heard, Union Atlantic is essentially about economics, more specifically financial meltdown, set as it is against the contemporary American stock exchange. However, despite some engaging insider views on the rabid passions and bizarre, otherworldly, foreign language of financial chicanery, this novel is more about the singular, yet powerful, place finance has in the world at large, and beyond that how actions in life's maze can ripple out, bringing down a whole heap of events to impact on seemingly unconnected individuals far beyond a person's intentions.
With characters connected either through family or fate are steadily introduced in a fashion that in other hands may have proved tedious and distracting - but guided by Haslett unravel into a mesmerizing treat of observation - Union Atlantic spreads out into a fascinating snapshot of everyday American life during this first decade of the twenty-first century. Inevitably, upon starting Union Atlantic, F.Scott Fitzgerald very quickly comes to mind, as well as the notion of the Great American Novel; and whilst much is made of the latter, in conjuring such a beautiful, evocative novel of manners to equal the former's Great Gatsby, Haslett has subtly delivered a work which will surely resonate for many years to come.
Whatever you do, don't for one moment be put off by the subject matter referenced in discussions about this novel. For Union Atlantic is arguably one of the most compelling, beautiful and urgent novels to emerge in a very long time.